Why do we allow hawkers to take over footbridges in Accra?

AMA Hawkers File Photo

Wed, 2 Aug 2017 Source: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Being the national capital, the government has the policy to promote the safety of dwellers within the Accra metropolis. Apart from building and maintaining road networks the Ministry of Roads and Highways has built modern footbridges in various parts of the city to facilitate safe and easy movement of pedestrians young and old.

Apart from promoting the safety of people that include school pupils and students and the old and handicapped, the bridges erected at Tetteh Quashie, Shiashie, Mallam in Accra, Saint John’s area near Achimota, Abeka and many other parts of the city were also meant to beautify the city.

A visit to the newly built bridge on the Tetteh Quashie road near Shiashie and those at Saint Johns do reveal that they are really beautiful. They are really useful as workers and other people from both ends of the road move freely on them.

Mrs May Obiri Yeboah, Executive Director of National Road Safety Commission, who recently led a team of officials of the commission to inspect some footbridges expressed delight about the level of patronage of the completed footbridges in Accra.

“The newly constructed footbridges, especially on the N1 Highway, the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange and other strategic pedestrian crossing points, were undertaken with lots of stakeholder consultations which have yielded results. “The pedestrians’ usage has confirmed that the spots of footbridges are user-friendly, and close to a bus terminal, lorry stations or major commercial activity centres that influence the usage of footbridges.

“erection of footbridges is one of the best decisions the government has taken to reduce death and injuries on roads,” she said.

However, it is sad that some traders have begun using portions of the footbridges as marketplaces. This practice of hawkers encroaching on spaces on footbridges which occurs on almost all the footbridges has become a source of worry to city and government authorities.

Apart from the footbridge at Tetteh Quarshie, the others at Kaneshie and others which are highly patronised have been turned into markets, places of worship and arenas for begging. The city authorities are not happy about this rather wrong use of the foot bridges and would want to take action to save the situation.

The Minister of Road and Highways Hon Amoako Attah who got wind of the misuse of the footbridges is contemplating taking action to get rid of the hawkers from the bridges. The city authorities and the minister must be up and doing and must act urgently before calamity befalls the nation over the misuse of the footbridges.

The Kaneshie footbridge being one of the oldest, is rather in a very bad shape. Apart from the hawkers plying their businesses on it, it has not seen maintenance over a long period of time.

The footbridge is getting so weak that parts of is falling off and it can give way in no time. The Minister of Roads must drive all hawkers’ preachers and beggars away from the footbridge, before putting the bridged in good shape. This action is needed urgently to prevent any calamity in non-distant future.

Executive Director eanfoworld for sustainable development abdulai.alhasan@gmail.com/eanfoworld@yahoo.com 0244370345/0208844792/0274853710

Columnist: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai